New Year begins on a polluted note

Delhi : 1 Jan, 2019 (Hindustan Times)

Air may improve after Jan 2 as Westerlies arrive

GURUGRAM: Air quality in the city improved slightly on account of the rise in temperature, but continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category on Monday, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded at

435 in the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) bulletin.

On Sunday, when the temperature in Gurugram dropped to

0.4°C, AQI value had shot up to

485, making it the most polluted city in the country for the first time since October.

Minimum temperature on Monday rose slightly. “Because of this, warmer air is carrying airborne particles to greater mixing heights of about 900 metres, as opposed to 800 metres and below on Sunday,” said a scientist at CPCB’S air quality laboratory.

Gurugram was the second most polluted city in the country on Monday, just behind Greater Noida that had an AQI value of

443. Other cities in the national capital region (Ncr)—delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad—also recorded ‘severe’ air pollution, with minor fluctuations in AQI value. Delhi’s AQI rose from 415 to 420, Faridabad’s improved slightly from 406 to 401 and Ghaziabad AQI stood at 431 and Noida was 422.

According to an IMD forecast, the situation across NCR might improve after January 2, when fresh Western Disturbances are expected to blow over north India, with wind speed of

8-10kmph which is expected to provide the ventilation index.

PM2.5 continued to be the primary pollutant in Gurugram on Monday, touching concentrations of up to 683ug/m3 in the vicinity of Vikas Sadan, where the city’s only official air quality monitor is installed. This is the highest measure of PM2.5 recorded in the area in at least four months.

Meanwhile, the CPCB task force is expected to meet on Wednesday to decide on additional measures that might be needed as part of the Graded Response Action Plan. “If the air quality level remains severe for over 48 hours, then we will take requisite steps,” said VK Shukla, head of CPCB’S air quality lab.

MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav said water sprinkling and mechanised road sweeping would continue as usual on January 1. “We are issuing fines for open waste burning and improper management of construction materials,” he said.

----------------------------------------------------------

Air quality bad, but better compared to 2016 and 2017

 

Noida : 1 Jan, 2019 (Times of India)

NEW DELHI: The year might have ended with the city’s air quality reading in the ‘severe’ zone on its last day (with an Air Quality Index value of 420), marking this December’s air the foulest since 2015, but Delhi’s overall air quality in 2018 was better than in 2016 and 2017.

Experts said that while antipollution measures taken this year have shown some results, Delhi could hope for even better air quality in 2019, if they are implemented with stringency and rigor throughout the year.

Data available with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) — the country’s apex pollution monitoring body — shows that the number of days with ‘good’, ‘satisfactory’ and ‘moderate’ air quality has gone up, while the number of days with ‘poor’, ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ air quality has declined.

“The city’s air quality has improved because of a series of anti-pollution measures that were taken in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). We hope to see further improvement in 2019,” a senior official of the CPCB said.

In 2018, a series of measures were taken, such as shifting from using BS-IV fuel to BS-VI fuel, shutting down the Badarpur power plant, launching the air quality early warning system, taking pre-emptive measures to control pollution levels, banning polluted fuels such as coal and kerosene in Delhi and cracking down on industries.

“The efforts taken this year have reflected well in the overall air quality, which has improved marginally. If we can sustain these efforts throughout the year, 2019 would be much better,” Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of Centre for Science and Environment, said.

But even though overall air quality in 2018 was better than previous years, this December, Delhi encountered one of its longest spells of severe air—four continuous days. Data available with the CPCB shows that Delhi encountered at least eight days of ‘severe’ air quality this December. While in 2015, there were no such days, in 2016 there were at least six such days. In 2017, Delhi encountered only one ‘severe’ air quality day in December,” an official of Delhi Pollution Control Committee said.

In 2016, severe pollution spells didn’t last for more than two consecutive days. The intensity of pollution was also higher this December than in 2016. While the highest air quality index value recorded in December 2016 was 427, this year it touched 450 (December 23). It dropped to 448 the next day.